Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Mustek, an assembler and distributor of information and communications technology (ICT) products, says orders for its cabling products suggest that SA’s fibre-to-the-home market is exploding in 2018.

"Comparing calendar years 2017 and 2018, we’re seeing growth in that sector not of 20%, we’re talking probably 500%," Mustek CEO David Kan told Business Day.

"The industry will grow and hopefully we will be able to share some of the growth."

With fibre penetration in SA rising off a low base, several providers, including Vumatel, are starting to push into low-income areas.

Mustek supplies fibre cabling products to the likes of Vumatel and Vodacom.

While cables were less profitable than computer products, Kan said increased demand for bandwidth would probably spur device sales. He said the local ICT market would also be buoyed by Microsoft’s announcement that it would no longer support the Windows 7 system from January 2020.

"In the corporate [state-owned entity] and government sectors, the devices they’re using are still largely based on Windows 7, so I think this is going to accelerate the replacement cycle."

In the first quarter of 2018, Mustek said it was struggling to keep up with demand for cryptocurrency mining equipment in SA, having seen a "phenomenal rise" in graphics processing unit (GPU) sales. However, that trend reversed after heavy sell-offs of major crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.

Mustek saw a "drastic slowing down in the [crypto-currency] mining sector from around April", Kan said.

The company’s headline earnings per share in the year ended June increased 28.2% to 104.15c.

Kan said Mustek was expecting better results than forecasts in May, though the rapid weakening of the rand in June ultimately dented earnings.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za